I’m having a hard time putting together what I thought of this book, but perhaps it boils down to one thing: communication, damn it! Between brother and sister, between friends, between parents and their children, between faerie princes and the people they hope will help them. And especially with people you want to kiss.
Seriously, half the issues here would be mitigated by communication; if Hazel talked to Ben, if Ben talked to Hazel. Jack’s the only one I somewhat let off the hook, because he’s part faerie and geasa/odd restrictions are part of the stock in trade. (Actually, I mostly liked the portrayal of the faerie people; cruel and wild and sometimes beguiling, with bits of traditional fairy stories all over the place, and fairytale narrative styles as well — things coming in threes, for instance. The portrayal of people, in general, the suspicions of Jack, the apathy regarding anything that doesn’t touch directly on the community — that all worked quite well.)
I can’t help but feel that I would’ve been more interested in Ben’s story, because Hazel is so necessarily divided from herself by the plot. There’s stuff happening to her, and you don’t really know what or why, because even though she’s the focus character, there are gaps and omissions. It makes sense, but I kind of wanted Ben’s story more — probably especially because he’s not straight, and he is in the end the most entangled with the faerie world.
I do enjoy Jack’s characterisation a lot; his resolution to get the best of both worlds, to be a human while he can. His caring for his brother (double), his human parents, and the call to the faerie side of him as well — his insistence on living a mortal life while he can and appreciating his human family, his human connections, because he has all the time in the world for the rest.
I think ultimately, the book didn’t stand out enough for me, but it is interesting.